On Sunday, February 18, linguist and anglicist Prof. Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade will treat us to a lecture on  much beloved novelist Jane Austen. Not so much on Austen’s novels, as on her language and the legacy she left us.

Because Jane Austen’s legacy consists of more than just her novels: she also left a will. When her family found it after her death, it immediately gave rise to yet another will, that of her mother. In both cases, Jane’s sister Cassandra was the main heir. Cassandra’s own will, drafted shortly before her death, paints a picture of how she had dealt with limited income during her lifetime (although she had disposed of the copyright to Jane’s novels early on). Together, the wills paint a picture of a group of unmarried and therefore financially vulnerable women who managed to take good care of each other through bequests in their wills.

Tieken is a professor emeritus of English Sociohistorical Linguistics at Leiden University’s Centre for Linguistics. She has researched widely in the area of English socio-historical linguistics having looked at such diverse fields as English negations, historical social network analysis, the standardisation process and the language of 18th-century letters.

What do the wills of Jane Austen, her mother and her sister Cassandra tell us about the lives of 19th c women? And how does it influence our reading of Austen’s novels today?

A must for all of us who love Jane Austen’s work! Don’t miss it!

Lecture in Dutch – Sunday, February 18, 16h00, Breestraat 70 – Leiden

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